John Lewis sales surged forward after news of Comet’s demise caused a “lively” period at the department store last week.
John Lewis reported sales rose 17.9% to £84.9m in the week to November 9 with electricals and home technology sales up 28.9%.
Managing director Andy Street said: “A number of factors came together last week to give us a robust score of 17.9% on last year. The later half-term across much of the country undoubtedly helped drive footfall into the shops, as did the distinctly autumnal weather.
“Beyond that, new product launches in technology, a competitor’s ‘extravaganza’ and the sad news of another’s likely demise undoubtedly combined to provide a lively end to the week.”
John Lewis price matched House of Fraser’s two-day branded Sale on Thursday and Friday.
Half-term lifted sales of childrenswear while menswear and womenswear sales combined to drive an 18% uplift in fashion. “In womenswear, our branded floors were a hive of activity,” Street said.
Online sales rose 45.8% on last year. Trafford, Croydon and Poole stores enjoyed strong double-digit growth while Tamworth was down 20.2%. The company’s last new store of the year opens in Ipswich next Thursday.
Street told the media last night: “We do feel that we have that magical word ‘momentum’ with us as we go into Christmas.”
Sister grocer Waitrose reported a 6.3% uplift to sales of £114.5m year-on-year. Convenience store sales rose 40% while online was up 51.9%.
Sales were driven by Halloween and Bonfire Night purchases as well as a 25% off wine promotion. The grocer said shoppers are already stocking up for Christmas and adjusting their purchases due to the cold weather.
Waitrose personnel director Helen Hyde said: “Warming prepared meals were 24% up, with traditional British meals and hot pies doing particularly well as the chilly weather set in.”